Announcement by the Washington Transportation Safety Commission.
The Washington Traffic Safety Commission’s (WTSC) first data for 2022 shows the highest number of deaths on Washington’s roads and highways since 1990. Preliminary reports show that 745 people died in accidents last year.
Drug and alcohol impairments are implicated in more than half of all fatal accidents. According to a December 2022 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, “In 2019, alcohol-related accidents resulted in 14,219 fatalities, 497,000 nonfatal injuries, and $68.9 billion in economic costs…”.
“From 2017 to 2021, 32 percent of fatal accidents in Washington involved alcohol-positive drivers,” said WTSC Director Shelly Baldwin. “Alcoholic impairment, whether alone or in combination with other drugs, remains a leading risk factor for traffic fatalities.”
Health and safety experts have long advocated that states lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC). per se Limit for DUI from 0.08 to 0.05 percent. The state of Utah and more than 100 countries have set BAC limits at 0.05 percent or less. The Washington Legislature is currently considering Senate Bill 5002, which would change the state’s limit to 0.05.
“The goal of this bill is not to increase arrests for drunk driving, but to remind and encourage people to avoid driving after drinking and thereby save lives. That was the result in Utah, and we expect similar effects in Washington state,” said John Batiste, chief of the Washington State Patrol.
At a BAC of 0.05 percent, a driver has reduced coordination and ability to track moving objects, difficulty steering, and a delayed response to emergency maneuvers. “The evidence is unequivocal that a driver’s ability to drive safely and respond to unexpected traffic conditions is compromised when their BAC reaches 0.05 percent,” said Baldwin.
The WTSC reminds everyone in Washington that there are simple things we can do to prevent driving impairments, such as: B. planning a sober drive home when you’re drunk. Friends and family can help prevent DUIs by acting as a sober designated driver, calling a ride, or offering a place to sleep.
The WTSC analysis shows that disabled drivers are more likely to speed and are less likely to wear seat belts. These factors increase the risk of accidents and are more likely to lead to death.